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I have lurked in this forum for a bit, but decided to create an account and post my experience. My wife and I have been married 9 years. She was flirty, had the touch love language, and is my amazing soulmate. Sex has always (well almost always) been frequent and amazing. We had trouble getting pregnant, which was a hard issue especially for my wife. We tried for 3+ years. We did IVF and had our little boy, who is now 4. After he came, the sex was better than its ever been. She was attacking me on the regular. Then we found out we were pregnant with twins. Understandably, the sex stopped during the majority of that pregnancy. When they were born, our son was not even 2 years old yet.

I know what you are thinking. Tired wife is the reason. I get it. It has been an exhausting experience raising these three kids with very little family support. But the twins are now 2 years old, our son is 4, and the sexual progress has been only marginal. My wife has no desire at all. ZERO. This I can understand when knowing how she is with the kids all day and is mentally and physically exhausted. I work outside of the home. For about a year, she has started a part-time business that keeps her busy when not with the kids. The problem, as I see it, is that she doesnt even flirt, or care at all about intimacy. She becomes upset if the topic is even addressed.

I dont think this can be an attraction issue. I am in good shape, I am, by most accounts, reasonably attractive, and I have a great job. I provide for our family. We have done therapy, both individual and couples. I set up an appointment with a sex therapist which made her upset, but I do think some small progress was made at that time. Still, nearly 3 years later since this all began and I am starting to wonder if this is my new reality. Will things ever improve? She literally has zero interest in sex or intimacy. She has a negative attitude about any flirt or advance that might be sexual in nature. Only after she perceives my frustration after a two or three weeks of no sex will she say something like "I think tonight maybe we can do something..." like its some sort of special treat for just me (which it always is).

When we have sex, it sometimes very amazing. She can orgasm or even have multiple orgasms and be flushed the rest of the evening reminiscing in how amazing it was. But I think she quickly forgets, or doesnt care too much about making the effort in the future. There will be times when she randomly "takes care of me" in a different way, which is always appreciated. I do love and appreciate these moments, because I know that right now they are not her "default" and she makes a great deal of effort. I just wish she would see this is an actual need for my happiness and feeling connected with her, and not just an optional treat like it seems to be for her.

People always say its normal with having babies and then improves. When can I expect this to improve? Will she ever get her sex drive back? Will I go crazy trying to be patient? I love her so much, but I often fantasize about a life away from her where I could be free to actually find a woman who cares about intimacy.

Sucks.

Thanks for reading this and thanks in advance for your comments.
 

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First of all, I have learned a lot of how sex is important to both people and that is someone is sexually active and then goes cold, it's for a reason, they just don't really change. I learned the hard way on that, I just accepted my reality and, really in turn, it backfired miserably. NOW, having said that I think there is a different reason here than I encountered and it's the one you already mentioned and the low hanging fruit.

From my point of view, those kids are still pretty young and having 3, 4 years or younger is a huge strain physically, emotionally, you name it.

if I were you I would continue to do the things you can do to make her feel desirable, to keep trying, to brush of the rejections but that them not as a snide but as for what i think they are, just someone invested with kids very young and it's taxing. I hope and believe that if you continue your courting, you continue to make her feel special and don't hold resentment, those kids don't stay young forever. They are going to start to do things on their own, with each milestone from the twins, that's something that you won't have to do again. Before you know it, the kids will be getting their own breakfast, turning on the tv and getting themselves ready. And if you have stayed true up until that point, your wife is going to have much less of a burden and she is going to see that you kept up with your ways of attracting her and just human nature will take over and couple that with more time and you should be good.

I could be wrong but I think the issue her is the young kids and for you to try to turn that resentment into looking towards the future and enjoying the kids while they are still this age.
 

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Have you expressed your dissatisfaction to her about your sexual status quo, without ambiguity and without being passive aggressive about it?

Or are you mostly internalising this and hoping for the best?

Since if you don't express yourself directly, or you don't end your relationship with her or replace her sexually with someone else. How on earth is she going to know that you're not fine with what you get?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Have you expressed your dissatisfaction to her about your sexual status quo, without ambiguity and without being passive aggressive about it?

Or are you mostly internalising this and hoping for the best?

Since if you don't express yourself directly, or you don't end your relationship with her or replace her sexually with someone else. How on earth is she going to know that you're not fine with what you get?
Yes, we have had conflict surrounding this issue for the past 2+ years. At the beginning, she wouldnt even speak about it with me. Like seriously she would just grunt and not say anything. I would be like "did you hear what I just said? Do you even care?" which would just anger her. After meeting for a few months w/ sex therapist, there was some marginal improvement. She would claim all was well and everything is where it should be. I disagreed. I would tell her how I felt....that she was not receptive or positive in any way about sex or intimacy and this hurts me a great deal. That when we do have sex, its like she is finally waving the white flag rather than actually looking forward to a special moment. All of this frustration is a bit hard to put in writing....at times she has listened and been understanding, at other times she has rolled her eyes and clearly not wanted to be bothered with this.

Where I am at right now is this: I work hard at my job, I work hard to be a good father to these kids and to support my wife in her new business (on the weekends she has a lot of time to herself and I am with the kids). I go to the gym, lift weights, and keep myself as in shape as I can. I compliment her, slap her on the ass when I feel like it, tell her how sexy she is and how grateful I am for her. I occasionally just smooch her up randomly. I dont press the issue. Usually ever 2-3 weeks we will have great sex or she will go down on me.....then repeat the paragraph all over again :)

Would really like, more than sex more often, for her to just be flirty and a little bit dirty again like she used to. Receptive to flirts. Sexting me occasionally....that sort of thing, and of couse, more sex :) But I am realistic about where we are at in life right now. I guess I just lose my patience from time to time. Before you know it, I will be past my prime and so will she. I dont want to waste the best years of my sexual life being frustrated.
 

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i get the tiredness, exhaustion and the focus on the kids. it's just the way things are. she needs to be given slack and
deference to her situation. sorry, but you're probably gonna have to take care of yourself mostly.

what is inexcusable however, is the attitude. that she 'get's mad' even when the subject comes up?
that she pretends sex doesn't exist, or it's not needed? what imaginary world has she created for herself, that
during the course of marriage, sex was regular, exciting and then, now, suddenly it shouldn't exist?

selfishness. no other way to describe it.
 

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i get the tiredness, exhaustion and the focus on the kids. it's just the way things are. she needs to be given slack and
deference to her situation. sorry, but you're probably gonna have to take care of yourself mostly.

what is inexcusable however, is the attitude. that she 'get's mad' even when the subject comes up?
that she pretends sex doesn't exist, or it's not needed? what imaginary world has she created for herself, that
during the course of marriage, sex was regular, exciting and then, now, suddenly it shouldn't exist?

selfishness. no other way to describe it.
Unfortunately this is all too often what happens, and when one of the most important bonding experiences a couple shares is relegated to a solo or non existent activity, the rest of the relationship will follow.
 

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So, she's got three children under 4 and is running a business part time from home. Is she also responsible for all the housework and chores, laundry, cooking, etc.? If so, how is she managing all that? Does she seem overwhelmed day-to-day? Is there just more stress in her life than she can effectively manage? Perhaps see if there are things that can be let go. But to manage that, you are also going to have to be okay with those things being let go. Is that a possibility?

How about you? Is your life stressful to the point that you're needing her to handle some of that stress for you? A lot of women find the need to manage their partner's emotional state to be a turn-off, particularly if that's a long term situation.

Also, how involved are you with the children? Clearly, having children was important to her if she went through fertility treatments. So it's likely that her partner being a good father is important to her as well. Not a good provider, not someone who helps out with the housework, but a good father. It turns out that that sort of "family support" is a real emotional need for some women. Do you spend time with the children actively parenting? If she has a strong emotional need for family support, she may have a definite idea of what that looks like in her head that maybe you aren't really aware of.
 

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The more space you afford her and the less sex you both share, the greater the distance will grow between you.

Your wife is obviously not feeling that desire to share sex with you, yet this has carried on for 2+ years. It was probably a mistake for the both of you, to not get back on the horse very quickly after falling off it.

At some point you will have to decide upon cutting your losses (the sooner the better from a financial and getting out there perspective). Or accepting your lot as is, while appreciating that it is highly likely to get far worse in terms of sexual intimacy and frequency as more years unfold. Then if you do decide to stay, a proper discussion on you or both of you getting sex outside of your marriage would be a good idea.

Or you can consider cheating on her if you're not willing to be frank with her on this, with the risk that it could blow up substantially down the track, if something goes wrong. Otherwise given time a sexless marriage with voluntary celibacy is where you might be headed.

At the end of the day this isn't fun, yet an honest accounting of your relationship together with her in person may be the best chance yo have of a turn around. Yet with the 2+ years already squandered, she would quite rightly think you are likely to be full of hot air if you do draw a line, which she may well cross just to call your bluff.
 

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When I had my first kid I recall thinking at the time how incredibly difficult it was. Then we had our second less than 2 years later and I realized how easy we had it with just one. I can't even imagine what twins on top of a 2 yr old is like.

When those twins turn 4 you might start to be out of the woods and life can slowly return to some semblance of normalcy again. Until then however you're wife is probably swimming in it and any effort to push the issue will be met with resistance and/or resentment. She'll view it either as an attack on her (and lack of understanding) or that you're behaving as another child for her to manage. You simply cannot negotiate desire. But you can really screw with your marriage and create a long-term problems.

A bit of understanding, patience and picking your spots is probably best you can do short term. Sorry no magic tricks I know of. Little kids are a blessing but certainly can be a marriage happiness nuke too. This too shall pass so make sure you're playing the long game here.
 

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If you've lurked, then you've probably seen some of the thousands of threads of almost exactly the same situation. At least you know you're not alone. But you hopefully realize that there's not a quick and easy solution. And likely, any long-term solution will look very different than what you might want right now.

It's pretty unlikely your W will get her grove back like it was before. Her attention is focused on other things, and that unconscious desire for sex is gone. She now has to consciously fit sex in with all the other things she has going on. As an example, think about how you like doing something like going to the movies. Regardless how fun going to the movies is, if you're swamped with other responsibilities then you're not going to want to go to the movies and you won't be able to enjoy the movie as much even if you go. Right now it's like that for your W, with her head so full of other responsibilities that the need for sex isn't there.

I think the best chance you have at improving things is to accept the new reality that her innate desire has gone way down (or completely gone). It sounds like she cares enough to make sure some of your needs are taken care of. Leverage that and come up with a framework where you can maintain some level of intimacy. For example:

- Make a strong effort to go to bed at the same time with contact (cuddling). Too often the couple drifts apart and there's not even any physical touch happening.
- Schedule certain times for sex. It's clear that with her interest and the demands of work and family, sex is not going to just happen naturally with any sort of frequency. So say Saturday night is for sex or something. That will make it easier for her to know when it is and get in the right mindset.
 

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When we have sex, it sometimes very amazing. She can orgasm or even have multiple orgasms and be flushed the rest of the evening reminiscing in how amazing it was. But I think she quickly forgets, or doesnt care too much about making the effort in the future. There will be times when she randomly "takes care of me" in a different way, which is always appreciated. I do love and appreciate these moments, because I know that right now they are not her "default" and she makes a great deal of effort. I just wish she would see this is an actual need for my happiness and feeling connected with her, and not just an optional treat like it seems to be for her.

People always say its normal with having babies and then improves. When can I expect this to improve? Will she ever get her sex drive back? Will I go crazy trying to be patient? I love her so much, but I often fantasize about a life away from her where I could be free to actually find a woman who cares about intimacy.
First, you can just do nothing and hope that one day her libido will return. If you're going this route, it would be nice to know if she actually misses having a libido and is willing to eventually work on getting it back. If you knew that, in a fixed number of years, you could count on it returning, you'd probably be willing to wait. But, what if it never does?

Unlike many here (who you'll hear from soon), I believe it is entirely normal for wives to greatly enjoy sex but not think of doing it often (spontaneous vs responsive; google responsive desire). An analogy is going to the gym. You rarely spontaneously feel like going to the gym but, once you go, you feel great and are glad you did. Her desire probably changed from spontaneous to responsive. It's possible for her to work with responsive desire (give herself a chance to be turned on), but she has to know that it's common for women and she's not unusual. When she became responsive, she probably worried that something is wrong with her. Also, she may feel that she should never have sex unless she wants sex (spontaneously desires it).

So, if this is the case, this is very fixable but your wife needs a motivation to change.

Have ONE talk with her, say the following:

My having sex with you is the way that I feel emotionally connected to you. When we don't have sex, I feel disconnected. This is not good for the marriage.

I am unwilling to stay forever in a sexless marriage. If things don't change, eventually I will probably leave.

I need to know if you see this as a problem as well and that you're willing to work on improving it.

I am willing to wait, but not forever.

I am very unhappy with the frequency with which we are having sex, but I have no interest in having sex with someone who doesn't want sex with me.

Therefore, I will stop initiating sex with you as of now. If you ask me to start initiate again, I will try. However, if I am rejected too often, I will stop again.

If there's anything that you think you need me to do to improve the situation, let me know and I will do my best to meet your needs.

I love you and our marriage and I fervently hope that we can work this out and be happily married forever.

Then, DO NOT talk about this again.

If you see no improvement, stop doing things for her that you do only for her happiness. There are all kinds of threads here about self improvement and the 180 (the most important thing is that you make these changes for yourself, not for the purpose of making your wife want to have sex with you again).

STOP talking to her about this.

If she asks about you changes in your behavior, let her know that, since she is not making your happiness a priority, you are focusing on it yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So, she's got three children under 4 and is running a business part time from home. Is she also responsible for all the housework and chores, laundry, cooking, etc.? If so, how is she managing all that? Does she seem overwhelmed day-to-day? Is there just more stress in her life than she can effectively manage? Perhaps see if there are things that can be let go. But to manage that, you are also going to have to be okay with those things being let go. Is that a possibility?

How about you? Is your life stressful to the point that you're needing her to handle some of that stress for you? A lot of women find the need to manage their partner's emotional state to be a turn-off, particularly if that's a long term situation.

Also, how involved are you with the children? Clearly, having children was important to her if she went through fertility treatments. So it's likely that her partner being a good father is important to her as well. Not a good provider, not someone who helps out with the housework, but a good father. It turns out that that sort of "family support" is a real emotional need for some women. Do you spend time with the children actively parenting? If she has a strong emotional need for family support, she may have a definite idea of what that looks like in her head that maybe you aren't really aware of.
She is heavier on cleaning the home and laundry, I am heavier on paying bills, planning, and cooking meals. We have tried to get nanny help, but getting consistent help is difficult. When we've had someone, it has helped tremendously.

I am a terrific father. I take pride in saying that. She knows this, and tells me all the time. I get home from work, and immediately proceed to chase my kids and tickle and play with them until they go to sleep. We usually both put them down, though lately I am able to put all 3 down myself and she can work on her business or do "girl" time for herself. Occasionally, she will put all 3 down so I can go watch NBA playoffs or something with the guys. Its a good balance.

Really, the only thing wrong is the lack of desire. I am ok to wait and be patient, if only I knew there was light at the end of the tunnel. She used to flirt, to text me things, to be receptive to my flirting. Now, if I send a flirty text, she doesnt respond. If I sneak up on her and tickle her and then kiss her....she "relents" rather than being an active participant in the fun. Sad. I am hopeful this will change back one day.
 

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She is heavier on cleaning the home and laundry, I am heavier on paying bills, planning, and cooking meals. We have tried to get nanny help, but getting consistent help is difficult. When we've had someone, it has helped tremendously.

I am a terrific father. I take pride in saying that. She knows this, and tells me all the time. I get home from work, and immediately proceed to chase my kids and tickle and play with them until they go to sleep. We usually both put them down, though lately I am able to put all 3 down myself and she can work on her business or do "girl" time for herself. Occasionally, she will put all 3 down so I can go watch NBA playoffs or something with the guys. Its a good balance.

Really, the only thing wrong is the lack of desire. I am ok to wait and be patient, if only I knew there was light at the end of the tunnel. She used to flirt, to text me things, to be receptive to my flirting. Now, if I send a flirty text, she doesnt respond. If I sneak up on her and tickle her and then kiss her....she "relents" rather than being an active participant in the fun. Sad. I am hopeful this will change back one day.
Sounds like the parenting and household stuff is going about as well as can be expected, then, given three littles at home.

How much time do the two of you spend together each week, alone with one another, doing fun date-like things?

If there's not enough of that, then it's pretty common for the marriage to suffer. Most men notice the marriage is suffering when their sex life begins to suffer, but it may also be strained in other ways that maybe you haven't noticed yet. And those other ways can lead to your wife not feeling sexual towards you. It's recommended that couples who wish to be in love - that is, both getting their most important emotional needs met - spend about 15 hours per week in engaged, fun, quality time alone together. So, dating. If you don't already, you two need to get back in the habit of really dating one another. You have to keep relating to one another as friends, lovers, girlfriend/boyfriend rather than just as spouses and parents. It can really help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Sounds like the parenting and household stuff is going about as well as can be expected, then, given three littles at home.

How much time do the two of you spend together each week, alone with one another, doing fun date-like things?

If there's not enough of that, then it's pretty common for the marriage to suffer. Most men notice the marriage is suffering when their sex life begins to suffer, but it may also be strained in other ways that maybe you haven't noticed yet. And those other ways can lead to your wife not feeling sexual towards you. It's recommended that couples who wish to be in love - that is, both getting their most important emotional needs met - spend about 15 hours per week in engaged, fun, quality time alone together. So, dating. If you don't already, you two need to get back in the habit of really dating one another. You have to keep relating to one another as friends, lovers, girlfriend/boyfriend rather than just as spouses and parents. It can really help.
I appreciate that feedback. We definitely dont get much free time just the two of us. We have very little family support, so we basically need to bring the kids anywhere we go. We get a babysitter for 1-2 hours one night each week and do go out and eat a late dinner together. After the kids sleep, we usually watch Netflix or read together. We have been reading stuff on improving the marriage etc. We did go through a rough patch right after the kids were born, where she had post-partum depression and I was also depressed. I think we are both out of the woods on that now. She definitely still struggles with her self-image. She has poor self-image about her body given the way its changed since the twin pregnancy. I do my best to snuff out her negative self-talk and tell her how beautiful and sexy she is. Maybe one day she will believe it again and things will change....
 

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If you don't already have it, add His Needs, Her Needs by W. Harley to your reading list. If nothing else, it will give you two a good way to have conversations about the true state of the marriage and what each of you really needs from it and each other. It also happens to explain a man's emotional need for sex with his wife in a way that usually resonates without creating more anger. It'll do much the same for whatever her top needs are. Dr. Harley has several other books that may also be helpful, but HNHN remains a great starting place.
 

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Stress levels aside (which sound like they honestly could be a large part of where she's feeling stuck), has she had any of her hormones checked recently? Between fertility treatments, the stress of having the twins, and any of the emotional impact of the last few years, she could be working with a hormonal imbalance.

It sounds like she needs a vacation, or some sort of get away that allows her to reset alongside you. Are there any vacation days coming up that you can use or any family members or trusted friends who could take the kids even just for a weekend? Time together, alone, is so important, especially if her role as a mother is quickly enveloping the rest of her identity. She may not even realize it at the moment, but if she's sinking into this attitude, it might get more difficult to pull back out of.

Maybe see if you both can schedule a date night, even once a month. A time that is just about you two and not the kids (believe me I understand how difficult it can be to just put them aside for a night, but it can make a world of difference). Sometimes people just genuinely need time to reboot before diving back into their hectic lives, and you both sound like you could use a break. Are there any activities or hobbies you both could pursue together? Or a class or workshop that you both could go to? It could help rebuild that friendship and communication that seems to be getting lost in all of the daily routines.
 

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It sounds to me that she has responsive desire. She also probably doesn't understand the importance of sex to you. I imagine she thinks of it as a method to orgasm for you which is nice but you are wanting intimacy with the woman you love and to bond. Every time you slap her on the ass, she hears " he wants sex" instead of it being a loving and affectionate touch. She needs to understand that it isn't that you are wanting to get off but that you want to feel desired. Many women greatly underestimate the role a woman's desire for her mate plays on his well being. Men don't generally cheat for sex....they cheat to feel desired....sex comes with that.

You have to explain to her that your ass grabs are just affection...not a request for sex. She doesn't know that I bet. She is feeling pressured and her fight or flight kicks in. Lots better advice from others here but the bottom line to ME is that she doesn't understand that sex is more than penis in vagina for you. she also doesn't understand that she can make you feel desired without having sex. Good luck buddy. If she wants it to work, it can . You just need the right communication.
 

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There are two things you need to do. The first is date your wife the way you used to before you had kids (cooking class, rent kayaks, play mini golf, go dancing, nature hikes, etc.). That means new and exciting things, not just doing the routine and getting a babysitter to get dinner out. Basically treat her like a woman if you want her to act like a woman and not just a mother. If this doesn't work and she's not exhausted from the kids you proceed to the second step. That step is you need to draw a line in the sand and tell her in no uncertain terms that this is a divorceable choice she is making and you won't live the rest of your life this way. She then gets to choose whether she values you as a partner or only as a provider, and her actions will let you know whether you can work through this or whether it is time to call it quits. I had this talk with my wife back when I was married and my sex life started dwindling. The result was she fixed her attitude and we returned to our good sex life because she knew that in my mind this was an essential part of marriage and I'd walk out over it.
 
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